Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

The Problem with Voters

rated by 0 users
This post has 1 Reply | 1 Follower

Not Ranked
Posts 2
Points 10
Savi Posted: Tue, Feb 12 2008 3:18 PM

On the news I hear way too many comments about politicians insulting one another (mudslinging), digging up old facts about their opponents' personal history, etc. Reporters make a big deal out of it, like it's some sort of reality show. "Who said what? Who insulted who? Who used to smoke weed? Who inhaled?" etc. The news reports on things like this because people are concerned about it. When people watch the debates, they don't pay so much attention to what exactly the candidates are talking about, but rather how they go about saying it. Instead of focusing on a candidate's policies and their adherence to the Constitution, voters worry more about how the candidate sounds when he talks. People are obsessed with their candidate's ability to speak clearly and to handle insulting remarks well. Honestly, these are good qualities to look for in a friend or family member, but are meaningless for a politician. I don't care if my candidate jumbles his words together, has a scratchy, squeaky voice, or even if he speaks aggressively against his opponents when he's frustrated. These things are human. What I really care about is one thing: Does my candidate follow the supreme law of the land? If so, he's a good choice. If not, he's unelectable, and I look at someone else. I don't focus on a candidate's wit, charm, smile, voice, etc. I care about their ability and willingness to uphold the Constitution. The reason we keep electing boneheads to public office is that we're not paying attention to what really matters.

Most people aren't willing to do the simple research it requires to know who's running and what they stand for. People are completely oblivious. They get all their information from one source: The almighty tube. Television and newspapers, for the most part, tell you only what they want you to know. They all have an agenda. There isn't a lot of actual reporting. Investigative journalism is dead now. No one is willing to get the facts. And when they actually do have the facts, they omit certain parts, or say them in a way that carries false implications. When CNN reported that a racist article was found in Ron Paul's newsletter years ago, one would naturally assume that Ron Paul wrote the article, or that he advertently allowed or oversaw the its publication. That is natural to assume if the following is true: First, you're not told that Ron Paul had no knowledge of the article's existence at the time of its publication, that the man responsible for it was fired from Paul's staff, and that Paul publicly denounced the article and took moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under his name; And secondly, you're not willing to look up more information on the topic yourself. If this is the case, you'd naturally assume Ron Paul is a racist. This is how big media works. If they're not twisting the truth, they're leaving important facts out of it, so you're left to make false assumptions about what you've seen, unless you're curious enough to know more and read information from other sources, namely on the internet.

In addition to knowing simple information such as who's running, you must also understand what they truly stand for. I dare you to ask a typical Obama supporter and ask them why they believe he is the best man to lead the U.S. To this day, I haven't heard any real reasons why people like the guy. They say he promotes "change" in Washington. Well of course he promotes change. They all do. Change for the worse, that is. Like losing more of our sovereignty to supernational organizations like the UN, NATO, and quite possibly the North American Union in the near future. (Notice how the three main republican candidates for president who have expressed strict opposition to the NAU [Paul, Hunter, Tancredo] were the ones most left out of the debates and had the least media coverage). Getting back to the idea of knowing your candidate, it's safe to say that most voters are not very aware of what their candidate stands for. Most candidates speak vaguely of how they desire to "make America better," "improve education," "provide quality healthcare," etc. when nearly all of them completely fail to explain how exactly they plan on doing this in a practical manner without first addressing other problems that will inevitably affect all of their plans for the country. One of these problems is our monetary system. How could any politician dare speak of making America a better place to live without first addressing the issue of monetary reform? Our central bank (the Federal Reserve) prints nearly all of our money, lends it to the government at interest, creating more national debt at an exponential rate. The more the government borrows from the Fed, the more the interest (national debt) accumulates. There are three main ways the debt can be repaid: Borrowing money from other countries, taxing, or having the Fed print more money to lend to the government (at interest, once again), thus creating more debt in a never ending cycle of dollar debasement and high prices. The more dollars there are in existence, the less each one is worth. It is important to understand this. The value of the dollar is going down each day as the Fed creates credit out of thin air. Keep in mind that your federal income tax (the one that takes a good quarter of your paycheck straight out of your pocket) doesn't even go toward hospitals, schools, roads and bridges, etc. It goes toward paying off the interest owed to the Federal Reserve bank. All this is happening right in front of us while the Constitution itself declares that only Congress has the power to "coin money and regulate the value thereof." Does this sound like something that makes sense to you? Doesn't this piss you off? Does it also anger you to know that this idea was heavily endorsed by Karl Marx, the founder of socialism? The creation of a central bank was one of the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto. These ten planks are the basic actions a government must take in order to create a communist state. All ten planks are already in place here in America, in varying degrees. Allow me to repeat myself. We are living in a semi-communist country. Scary, huh? There is actually a small socialist party here in the U.S. But I think it's funny how they pretty much don't have a reason to exist, seeing as how the democrats and republicans are doing their work for them, just in a more subtle fashion.

I was reading a book by Ron Paul called A Foreign Policy of Freedom. In it he describes how we are entangled in a web of pacts, alliances, and treaties with countless nations all over the world, some of which are at war with one another. We are pledged to defend these countries should anyone attack them. But if we hold the same pledge to the country that attacks our ally, we find ourselves directly in the middle of their conflict, often giving financial and military aid to both sides. We perpetuate war by giving money and weapons to both sides of a conflict. And we've been doing it for years between countless countries. Once again, an obvious American blunder in its most embarrassing form. Why aren't more people paying attention to the actions of their representatives in government? This kind of behavior is ridiculous.

An informed voter knows his rights and how to interpret the Constitution, and is aware of the policies represented by each candidate during an election. An informed voter also realizes that a politician's opinion on a given subject is not necessarily relevant. Let me repeat that. A candidate for public office may have countless opinions on what course of action should be taken in a given situation, but all that matters is that they follow the law. Take Ron Paul for example. It is his opinion that prostitution and recreational drug use are bad, and that people shouldn't take part in that kind of behavior. But he is aware that his opinions on matters like this are irrelevant, because the government has no right to tell you how you can and cannot live your life and pursue happiness. The only time they can stop you is if you're infringing on the rights of others. By smoking a joint, I'm not violating anyone's rights. Therefore government has no say in whether or not I can do it. Ron Paul understands this idea, and that's why I respect the living hell out of him.

Let's take this to another level. Say we're discussing the issue of gun rights, and (for the sake of argument) you inform me that most of the population is against guns, and believes that no one should be allowed to carry them around in public, or even have them in their homes. The fact that more people are against them than for them would naturally result in the confiscation of all privately owned guns in any democracy... But this isn't a democracy. What's that? You thought we lived in a democracy? Oh, boy, here comes the fun part. (We'll get back to the gun issue in a bit). We live in a constitutional republic. The Constitution even says, "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government." It doesn't say "democratic." In fact, the founders themselves hated democracy. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a famous saying that goes, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch... Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." This expression explains how democracy works: Majority rules. If most of the people want a particular law to be passed, then it is passed. Whether it infringes on someone's rights is irrelevant. What matters in a democracy is that most people agree with it. If 51% of the people want to reinstate slavery, it is reinstated. A constitutional republic, as defined by Wikipedia, is:

"...a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens... The will of the majority of the population is tempered by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power."

In other words, the majority in a constitutional republic may want to outlaw all guns. But since that would be a violation of our right to bear arms, it is unconstitutional for the government to pass any such law, regardless of what the majority thinks. The purpose of our government is to protect individual rights, rather than collective or "community" rights. Michael Badnarik does an excellent job in his book Good to be King at describing this concept:

"[Communities] are abstract concepts that merely represent a collection of individuals. We do not start out with a large block of 'community' and then shave off thin slivers of 'individual.' Communities do not (and cannot) have rights... Only the individuals within the community have rights, and those individuals continue to have rights whether they remain in the community or not... The phrase 'community rights' is always used as a justification for depriving one or more individuals of the rights they would ordinarily expect to have."

Remember when I said that we have a "right to bear arms?" Do you know what grants us that right, and all other rights? If you said the Constitution, you're wrong. If you said, the Bill of Rights, you're wrong again. The answer is one of two things: Nature or God, depending on what you believe in. If there is a god, then he bestowed upon us rights, the ability to do as we please. If there is no god, we at least have rights granted to us by the laws of nature. I have the right to kill animals for food, to grow my hair out, and to run around naked covered in Jell-o. The laws of nature/God permit this, therefore it is my right. The only purpose of government is to protect those rights, which means that if you decide to do something that violates the rights of another individual, government steps in to protect that individual. A just and limited government allows all individuals to live freely and do as they please so long as they do not prevent others from doing the same. We are born with these rights. The founders called them "self evident," meaning that they are obvious and do not need to be granted to us, because we were already born with them. Michael Badnarik once again describes this in perfect detail:

"People are usually surprised to discover that I hate the phrase 'constitutional rights.' I hate that phrase because it is terribly misleading. Most of the people who say it or hear it have the impression that the Constitution 'grants' them their rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Strictly speaking it is the Bill of Rights that enumerates our rights, but none of out founding documents bestow anything on you at all. The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. Is that the first year Americans had the right to 'life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?' What rights did we have after the Constitution was ratified that we didn't have prior to 1789? Did the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791 create freedom of speech and freedom of religion for the very first time? All of those suggestions are obviously nonsense, but only after you've thought about them for a while. All of your rights precede these documents. The government can burn the Constitution and shred the Bill of Rights, but those actions wouldn't have the slightest effect on the rights you've always had."

That should help you understand what rights are and where they come from. This article should be viewed as a way of better understanding how to read the Constitution, know your rights, and elect public servants who actually serve YOU, and not the other way around. Pay attention to the important things when you vote, like whether a candidate's propositions and policies adhere to the Constitution, rather than how "kind and caring" you think they are on a personal level. Obama seems like a nice guy in person, but that won't make him a law abiding leader. Voting can be a powerful tool if you know how to use it. I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, which brilliantly sums up my entire message to you in one short paragraph:

"There is no nation on Earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing."

~ Daniel Webster, 1837

Not Ranked
Posts 2
Points 10
Savi replied on Tue, Feb 12 2008 10:08 PM

By the way, keep in mind this was written as a way of informing those who aren't very knowledgable in the political process on how to use their vote effectively. I was curious to know how the people on this forum felt about it, and whether you think it would be informative to the average reader.

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (2 items) | RSS